Food is much more than just tasty Unknown aspects of our diet
A few months ago I strolled unsuspectingly through the pedestrian area in Melbourne, when suddenly I was confronted with an unpleasant truth. An animal activist group showed disturbing video footage from slaughterhouses and farms. My first thought was that it is a shame how we treat animals (the typical alibi-good-human thought). And I almost supressed this thought, walked past it, and lived my life as if nothing had ever happened. Something inside of me has always been fighting against watching these kind of videos. But a quick look at the screens and what I saw made me freeze. Baby chicks were sorted in males and females, and the poor males, useless for laying hens, were thrown into some sort of blender and chopped alive, to name only one of the scenes. I was deeply touched by the suffering that we bring to these innocent animals on a daily basis. For the first time, I really looked at these videos and I was ashamed to be part of the only race that exploits, tortures and kills other creatures without any consideration for their needs. Even worse, we use methods that increase their suffering to lower our costs and maximize our profits. Without even considering it once in 30 years, from that moment I did not want to support these horrible methods anymore. I was absolutely convinced that I would be vegan from now on. Unfortunately it was not that easy.
I kept it up for a month, and after a good first week, it started to get pretty damn hard. The abrupt change did not do my digestive tract and my psyche very well. Every day something else that I’ll never be able to eat again crossed my mind, I had cravings and saw bacon when I closed my eyes. I knew that I would not be able to do it. I realized that changing my eating habits is hard work and requires sacrifice and discipline, but I also realized how broad and how important this topic is. I was frustrated because I knew I would fail. I felt weak and selfish. What kind of person am I, that can’t even give up my burger to save a life? I thought I had to live with the shame and the guilt. I could not and did not want to give up meat. I had thoughts like, “Did these activists ever ask me if I wanted to watch those videos?” Unbelievable how we always seek someone to blame to make ourselves feel better. But this question was quickly replaced by questions like the following: “Have we ever asked the pigs if it’s okay if they never see daylight and they spend their whole lives in tiny boxes where they can not even turn around or they have no other option than to sleep in their own excrement or on other (sometimes dead) fellow sufferers, or if they would like to have an anesthetic when we cut off their tails and ears to prevent cannibalism? “
A reflection had started and I started to inform myself, because in my opinion it was the least to get to know where my steak comes from, if I couldn‘t do without it. At least I didn‘t want to close my eyes and appreciate the animal that had suffered for it. Over the next few months, I experienced an incredible transformation. The more I read, saw and heard, the more I understood that food is not just food. It’s more than just satisfying hunger, recharging and pleasure. It was also about more than morality and the suffering of other living beings. I realized that this topic is bigger than I ever could have imagined. With every product we buy in the supermarket, we have a direct impact on the environment, health, politics, the economy, and the future of next generations and our planet. I realized how much power we have, of which we don’t know and therefore don‘t use. How did I, a in my opinion reasonably educated and interested person not know how much commercial animal agriculture is damaging the environment? In fact, it is the main factor of global warming, the erosion of the rainforest and the destruction of our oceans and biodiversity.
Although I initially failed, my consumption of animal products was automatically reduced because I looked at my food from a different angle. My conviction got stronger and made me enjoy meat less, which automatically reduced my cravings. 6 months later, I found that I barely ate meat and banned other animal products to a large extent from my diet. I felt that I was ready to give up meat completely. It’s been 9 meatless months now and there was no moment of weakness. Because what I know today has changed my perspective and my life and I can’t stop asking the question, “What if all people knew what I know?”. I never would have thought it was possible, but if a meat fanatic like me can change, anyone can.
During my transformation, I realized that nutrition is also a form of expression that reflects who we are and how we see ourselves. It allows us to represent and put across our values, beliefs and morality. I learned a lot about myself, but also about humanity, compassion, love and understanding. I feel much more connected to myself and the environment, because I live according to my core values and reduce (and soon stop) my contribution in the exploitation of innocent beings. It feels good to do something for others and not just make decisions according to my own needs.
Today I can say with pride, that I am a vegetarian and on my way to soon live completely vegan. However, it is important to me in this whole process not to force it and not to forbid me anything, because that is how cravings arise. I want to avoid animal products by conviction, but allow me exceptions as long as I need them. I know that someday I’ll be ready. It’s only a matter of time.
I don‘t want to judge or impose certain lifestyles and diets, I just want to show how complex the topic of nutrition is and that there are many connections that we are not aware of. Once we understand and know about the impact of our diet, we can decide for ourselves what role we want to play in this society and this world. Right now, we make decisions every day without being aware of their consequences. It’s like blindfold voting and randomly pointing your finger at one of the parties or deciding on the appearance of party members. The majority of us would like to know who they are voting for
and make an informed decision, hoping for a better future. That’s exactly how it is with our diet. Price and taste should not be the only arguments for our choice in the supermarket. As intelligent beings, we owe it to ourselves, the animals and our planet to make an informed and conscious decision.
I think we all agree that this planet deserves better, and if we continue to exploit it, it will soon be dead. What we finally have to understand, before it is too late, is that we are destroying our own habitat and therefore ourselves.
- If you want to know more about the environmental impact of your food choices watch the documentary “Cowspiracy” on Netflix or even read the book “the sustainable secret”, which is a lot more detailed
- The movie “Earthlings” on Youtube is shocking, but lifechanging